THE HAGUE--The absence of a dentist in Saba was brought up by the Socialist Party (SP) during a debate in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament with three state secretaries on Thursday. 

  Member of Parliament (MP) Ronald van Raak (SP) explained that while visiting Saba in January this year, the delegation of the First and Second Chambers had seen an empty dentist chair at A.M. Edwards Medical Center. The delegation was told that a dentist was being sought for Saba.

  Saba has had no dentist for several years, and Sabans have been forced to go to St. Maarten for dental care, which means incurring extra cost. The Saba Island Council pointed out this undesirable situation to the Health Insurance Office ZVK in Bonaire in May, as well as during a meeting with the Second Chamber’s Permanent Committee for Kingdom Relations in The Hague early June.

  During Thursday’s general debate about the Caribbean Netherlands, MP Van Raak reminded State Secretaries Raymond Knops of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, Tamara van Ark of Social Affairs and Labour, and Mona Keijzer of Economic Affairs and Climate of the situation.

  Van Raak was especially miffed by the fact that a dentist n St. Maarten who has offered to visit Saba on a regular basis to provide the highly needed dental care cannot make use of the dentist facilities at the hospital.

  “We were told that this dentist cannot make use of the dentist facilities at the hospital because of certain rules. Something needs to be done about this absurd situation,” Van Raak said.

  MP Attje Kuiken of the Labour Party PvdA also brought up the issue. “How can it be that there is no dentist on all three islands? This obviously leads to health issues, and needs to be solved,” she said.

  Knops replied that public health was not in his portfolio and that he would check the matter with his colleague, State Secretary of Public Health Paul Blokhuis.

  Van Raak said this was exactly the reason he wanted one minister or state secretary to take the responsibility for the Caribbean Netherlands. “To prevent this craziness of going back and forth,” Van Raak said.